Penn State leaders’ court dates postponed

mdawson@centredaily.comDecember 5, 2012 

A preliminary hearing next week and a perjury trial next month for the former Penn State administrators accused of covering up abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky are on hold, two judges said Wednesday.

The judges in Dauphin County issued orders postponing the court hearings for former Penn State president Graham Spanier, ex-athletic director Tim Curley and retired administrator Gary Schultz.

All three men were due in court Dec. 13 for a preliminary hearing, but District Judge William Wenner delayed the hearing until defense motions are resolved.

President Judge Todd Hoover postponed Curley and Schultz’s long-awaited perjury and failure to report abuse trial that had been scheduled for jury selection on Jan. 7 with the trial to follow. Online court records do not show a reason for Hoover’s decision.

The delays likely will raise questions as to whether the cases will be consolidated into one jam-packed, high-profile trial.

All three men are charged with the same counts — perjury, obstruction of justice, child endangerment, conspiracy and failure to report child abuse. Curley and Schultz were first charged last year, and they were indicted last month on new charges last month, the same time Spanier was indicted on all the charges.

The attorneys for the three men have maintained that their clients are innocent.

No new court dates were set by the judges.

The unresolved issues ahead of the preliminary hearing involve former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin. The attorneys want to keep her from taking the stand, saying she violated attorney-client privilege when she testified against their clients at the grand jury investigating Sandusky and that she misrepresented herself as their counsel when they testified to the grand jury.

Baldwin has said she was representing Penn State’s interests and was allowed to hear their grand jury testimonies.

The Curley and Schultz trial has a number of unresolved matters, some of which involve Baldwin. The attorneys have made the same arguments about her involvement in the grand jury in asking the judge to throw out the case or their clients’ grand jury testimonies.

Hoover, the trial judge, is weighing a decision about whether the statute of limitations for the failure to report abuse count had expired, as the defense argued it had. That count stems from the 2001 shower incident involving Sandusky and a young boy.

The attorneys for Curley and Schultz have also asked the judge to give their clients separate trials, and the judge has yet to rule on that matter.

Hoover also ordered on Wednesday that prosecutors have a month to respond to the issues raised by the defense attorneys in a pretrial motion that included the Baldwin grand jury issues.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.

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